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  1. #31
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    summary of AW's points so far

    Very helpful, thanks.

    To summarize:

    Maura had not unpacked yet, as she was too busy the last ten days

    She took just what she needed (running clothes, stuff for 3-4 days) and the jewelry because she was concerned about room security?

    She was only taking a break to blow off steam after the accident with Dad's car,
    was not seriously upset about anything, pretty much ok & normal

    She was planning to call Lt R and her Dad that night as promised, had both her cellphone chargers as needed (my addition from another Peabody post)

    She would have returned and resumed at UMA after 3-4 days after her little adventure break in the White Mtns, no one the wiser and did not worry about the "death in the family" excuse causing any problems

    Is this a fair summary?

    I wonder:

    Was she upset about something else on the Thursday night when she had to be escorted back to her dorm room from her security job?

    Was there something else she was upset about which she did not tell Lt R during the 4.59am phone call to him on Sunday morning?

    Was she concealing how upset she was from her Dad that weekend?

    Why didn't she return Lt R's calls or answer his messages on Sunday and Monday till the early afternoon when she was leaving UMA--she did get her cellphone back at 8.30pm Sunday from Sara Alfieri's room, yet she says in her email to Lt R around 1pm Monday "I didn't feel much like talking to anyone."

    She calls him after 2pm Monday as she is planning to leave, and doesn't mention her plans for departure--why not?

    If she was the caller to Lt R's cellphone on Wed am as he believes, why didn't she leave any message or call back?

    Obviously I believe there was more going on than her just taking a break for a few days, but I am asking these questions which I have puzzled over for many months as I think they hold the key to her disappearance--and the last one is really the most important as her being alive and calling Lt R on Wed am is the most baffling and crucial clue in figuring out what happened after she left the Woodsville NH accident scene.

    See Sharon's notes on 2/11 in the Case Info section timeline dated 10/22 on the Maura site for the best account of the Wed am phone call and her disputing the statement by NH police that it came from the ARC, also her post just a few days ago on the Maura site clarifying that this phone call definitely did not come from the ARC office in Ohio as claimed by NH police.

  2. #32
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    I've been reading for hours, catching up on this case.

    To me, the simplest explanation is she continued toward Woodstock on foot. She was headed east; her footprints led east; she knew the area to the east; and the police, who came from the west, didn't pass her.

    Somewhere along the way, she either froze to death, or someone picked her up.

    I mapped the accident site, plus the place she was supposedly seen an hour later. She should have reached the next town at midnight. The first things she would come to, according to Google Earth, would be the Carriage Motel and Truants' Taverne.

    It would be good for someone to follow her footsteps on a similar night. Is it doable? At what point would you give up and start looking for a ride? An empty cabin? A shortcut through the woods?

    One more clue would be how she dealt with her previous accident. Did she call AAA from the scene? Did she call police at the scene? Did she knock on someone's door nearby to use their phone? Accept a ride from a passing stranger? Or did she walk to a "safe" place, and only then, after calling her boyfriend, or someone she trusted, start dealing with the accident?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by hydemi
    Very helpful, thanks.

    To summarize:

    Maura had not unpacked yet, as she was too busy the last ten days

    that would be my assumption.

    She took just what she needed (running clothes, stuff for 3-4 days) and the jewelry because she was concerned about room security?

    Yes, maybe she took her jewelry for security reasons, I would never leave anything of value in a dorm room. Maybe she took it because she always took her jewelry that her boyfriend gave her when she went away for any amount of time. It meant a lot to her. I do that very same thing when I go anywhere. My husband gave me a 7000 diamond tennis bracelet (I know how much only because we insured it) and I wear it every day, even when I wear jeans. ESPECIALLY when he is deployed or away.

    She was only taking a break to blow off steam after the accident with Dad's car,
    was not seriously upset about anything, pretty much ok & normal

    She was upset about the accident, and she was stressed out from school and the busy holiday that had been far from relaxing. She needed time to herself. But that certainly didn't mean that she intended to permanently flee. She worked things out on her own, it was her nature. She was probably more stressed than she had ever been, again this isn't a reason to permanently flee but it is a good reason to just go away for a bit and be alone. She tried working her problems out in other ways... just doing things like drinking irresponsibly which led to driving... which only led to more stress. I am sure she tried to run it off quite a bit but it was just more than she was used to dealing with. Not to the point of fleeing. It takes a different kind of person to do that I think.


    She was planning to call Lt R and her Dad that night as promised, had both her cellphone chargers as needed (my addition from another Peabody post)

    Yep. But I think she wanted to hold off telling them where she was going UNTIL she got there so they wouldn't worry about her. She would have called them both that night.

    She would have returned and resumed at UMA after 3-4 days after her little adventure break in the White Mtns, no one the wiser and did not worry about the "death in the family" excuse causing any problems

    As far as her professors were concerned yes. I mean how would they find out there was no death in the family? I went to a major university and I didn't have to provide proof for any kind of excused absence as long as I informed them ahead of time. Especially when I excelled in my classes anyway. And how would her employers find out? I have never heard of an employer requesting proof of a death in the family. Her family and Billy would have known, she was going to talk to them later that evening.

    Is this a fair summary?

    I wonder:

    Was she upset about something else on the Thursday night when she had to be escorted back to her dorm room from her security job?

    Even the least emotional woman in the world has times when everything builds up. She was probably just thinking about all of the stressors in her life and just became emotional. If you were a very down to earth girl who didn't want people to think that you were an emotional time bomb, and you began to cry at work, then someone asked you what was wrong, would you tell them that you are an emotional basketcase at the moment?

    Was there something else she was upset about which she did not tell Lt R during the 4.59am phone call to him on Sunday morning?

    I don't believe so, just on emotional overload and she wasn't comfortable feeling as though she was feeling sorry for herself....which only makes this type of person feel more stressed.

    Was she concealing how upset she was from her Dad that weekend?

    While I don't think she was trying to CONCEAL anything, I also don't think she wanted him to worry about her.

    Why didn't she return Lt R's calls or answer his messages on Sunday and Monday till the early afternoon when she was leaving UMA--she did get her cellphone back at 8.30pm Sunday from Sara Alfieri's room, yet she says in her email to Lt R around 1pm Monday "I didn't feel much like talking to anyone."

    She was a private person as far as emotion and dealing with it on her own. She cared about people tremendously, especially Billy, and didn't want him to worry about how stressed she really was. I'm also leaning toward thinking that she didn't want to tell anyone she was leaving until that night when she got there... thus eleviation the worry factor.

    She calls him after 2pm Monday as she is planning to leave, and doesn't mention her plans for departure--why not?

    Same answer as above.

    If she was the caller to Lt R's cellphone on Wed am as he believes, why didn't she leave any message or call back?

    LT Rausch's mother stated that his cell wasn't working right. At times she would call him and it wouldn't even ring, but rather it would go through like she hadn't dialed correctly. I don't think she realized that it rang, or that his voicemail picked up. I believe that she was abducted by that time and her phone had been taken. However maybe in her pocket were her phone cards that she had gotten for Christmas. Perhaps when she left her room she had just shoved them in her pocket as a last minute thought. She could have had a very narrow window of oppertunity to use one and make that call... unfortunately Billy couldn't answer. I am sure that haunts him.

    Obviously I believe there was more going on than her just taking a break for a few days, but I am asking these questions which I have puzzled over for many months as I think they hold the key to her disappearance--and the last one is really the most important as her being alive and calling Lt R on Wed am is the most baffling and crucial clue in figuring out what happened after she left the Woodsville NH accident scene.

    See Sharon's notes on 2/11 in the Case Info section timeline dated 10/22 on the Maura site for the best account of the Wed am phone call and her disputing the statement by NH police that it came from the ARC, also her post just a few days ago on the Maura site clarifying that this phone call definitely did not come from the ARC office in Ohio as claimed by NH police.
    Honestly I see this as far more likely than any scenerio involving her willfully disappearing. The reasons just weren't there for her to flee. She had decided to devote her life to helping people. To do that she had to deeply care about people.
    She loved her family and her boyfriend. She wanted nothing more than to spend her life with him.
    I am positive that she was affected emotionally by the accident. She loved her dad, and she felt that she let him down, I am sure. She was so close to her dad, and no matter what a "daddys girl" does wrong she always knows her daddy is still loving her and would be lost without her. I speak from experience.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Rex
    I've been reading for hours, catching up on this case.

    To me, the simplest explanation is she continued toward Woodstock on foot. She was headed east; her footprints led east; she knew the area to the east; and the police, who came from the west, didn't pass her.

    Somewhere along the way, she either froze to death, or someone picked her up.

    I mapped the accident site, plus the place she was supposedly seen an hour later. She should have reached the next town at midnight. The first things she would come to, according to Google Earth, would be the Carriage Motel and Truants' Taverne.

    It would be good for someone to follow her footsteps on a similar night. Is it doable? At what point would you give up and start looking for a ride? An empty cabin? A shortcut through the woods?

    One more clue would be how she dealt with her previous accident. Did she call AAA from the scene? Did she call police at the scene? Did she knock on someone's door nearby to use their phone? Accept a ride from a passing stranger? Or did she walk to a "safe" place, and only then, after calling her boyfriend, or someone she trusted, start dealing with the accident?

    They found footprints? I thought they found nothing, not a trace, of what happened to her next except some scent dogs appeared to trace her a short distance to the next road.

    If they found her footprints leading away from her accident, then surely the bus driver is "off the hook" - but so many have suspicions of him.

  5. #35
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    footprints et al

    Yes, Sharon's notes in the Case Info timeline section on the Maura site for 2/11 quote officer Cecil Smith as saying that there was "one set of footprints" leading from her car up next to the snowbank.

    Yes, AW has offered the same explanation the Rausches offer for the missed phone call--that she was being "held" and only had a limited opportunity to try to make a call. This is why Lt R describes the call as a "chilling voicemail" in his CNN interview with Soledad O'Brien on 2/17/04.

    Sharon did say on the Maura site in reponse to me in the last few days that she believes one of the cards she gave Maura for prepaid calls back in November was an ATT card,and investigating the call done for the family did determine that the call was made using an ATT card--but no pin number or code to further identify & trace the call.

    Yes busdriver Atwood and the construction worker have been touted as the likely suspects on the Maura site for months now--all I can say is that two years later no real evidence of abduction has been presented or found.

    That doesn't mean there isn't any, which may be known to the "ongoing investigation" by NHSP but we simply don't know.

  6. #36
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    Thanks, Hydemi. I'm dense here - what's AW?

    Why did Lt. Rausch erase the voice mail, do you know?

    I also don't understand how there could be two different opinions as to where the phone call came from. It was Rausch's phone, surely he is entitled to the information on the whereabouts of the call placed to his phone. Why is there an argument over that, do you know? It seems quite black and white, it came from the Red Cross or it didn't, how hard can that be to nail down?

  7. #37
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    to Katherine

    sorry, AW is ArmyWife who has been posting here.

    The difficulty tracing the phone call as Sharon explains on the Maura site is that without the pin & card number these prepaid card calls cannot be traced.

    I believe that Sharon has demonstrated that the call did not come from ARC in Ohio--she gave them info, not Lt R's cell number; he already had the leave, no further contact was needed; she called them back, they had no record on file of any other contact than 2/10; why would they use a prepaid card and why would ARC be sobbing-breathing-crying into the phone?

    Why NHSP would make such an error? Why did they make all the other errors in this case?

    As to the Rausches believing from the start that the call was from Maura, all one can say is they have never wavered.

    Sharon had given prepaid cards to Maura a month or two earlier to help save on bills (remember Maura and Lt R shared a cellphone account together), and
    the call was determined by private investigation to be from an ATT card. She says in a post this week that she thinks one of the cards given to Maura was an ATT card.

    I believe he had deleted the message which had to be refreshed every two weeks on his phone sometime within the first two months or so, as he said according to Sharon that he could not stand listening to it and found it too upsetting and "chilling" (his word).

  8. #38
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    Thanks, Hydemi.

    I read through some of that site case information this morning, and found it intruiging that with Rausch's phone, often you couldn't tell that the message recorder was on. So if she were trying to call him, and felt like the call didn't get through, she could be sitting there waiting for it to connect and sniffing and crying waiting to leave a message.

    Which makes 1000 times more sense, to me, than thinking she intended to leave a crying message with no words. But to not know she's being taped and is just waiting to connect, I get that completely. It's a surprise to me, though, that Rausch didn't have the message professionally copied on to some other source, because that's all the evidence they had of what happened to her. That's it. To erase that message, when a grown man would know it could probably be enhanced to provide clues and compared to other recordings of her voice, and perhaps background sounds could be enhanced - frankly this is a stumper why he erased it.


    EDITED TO ADD: I keep thinking about the tracing of this call to the red cross. That would have been a landline - a much easier call to confirm. Does LE have both the trace from Rausch's cell phone, and do they claim they have corresponding phone records from the Red Cross land line that confirm that a call was made at that minute to his cell phone? Does anyone know? This is bugging me because this one piece of information seems like it wouldn't be that hard to confirm for sure, yes or no, did it come from the Red Cross.

  9. #39
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    One interesting post from the MM web site:

    "The elevation at the accident scene is 883 ft. above sea level. About 6 winding miles later at the intersection of Rte. 118 the elevation is 1141 ft. 4.5 miles beyond this intersection is the height of land beneath Mt. Moosilauke, with an elevation of 1,875 ft. The run from there to Woodstock brings you to an elevation of 732 ft."

    Maura wouldn't have passed many roads after leaving the accident scene. By Rte. 118, she would have been going uphill for a little while, and would see that she was about to have to really go uphill. In my opinion, this is where she would start having second thoughts about walking. There are three roads she could have turned off on there, Kingman Ridge Dr., Russell Farm Rd., and Mountainside Rd. I think those would be really good places to look.

  10. #40
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    Here's a map that shows topography. (Ignore the red.)
    The accident would have been on Route 112, a little after where it says "Swiftwater" on the map.
    http://www.portlandvelo.com/Moosilauke_tour.jpg


  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Rex
    Here's a map that shows topography. (Ignore the red.)
    The accident would have been on Route 112, a little after where it says "Swiftwater" on the map.
    http://www.portlandvelo.com/Moosilauke_tour.jpg
    T-Rex - thanks for the map

    As you look at the map, Maura's accident occured approximately 3/4 of an inch south of Swiftwater on the road marked in gray (rt 112) at the south point of the "V". This is a very sharp, hairpin turn

  12. #42
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    [QUOTE=KatherineQ]Thanks, Hydemi.

    I read through some of that site case information this morning, and found it intruiging that with Rausch's phone, often you couldn't tell that the message recorder was on. So if she were trying to call him, and felt like the call didn't get through, she could be sitting there waiting for it to connect and sniffing and crying waiting to leave a message.

    Which makes 1000 times more sense, to me, than thinking she intended to leave a crying message with no words. But to not know she's being taped and is just waiting to connect, I get that completely. It's a surprise to me, though, that Rausch didn't have the message professionally copied on to some other source, because that's all the evidence they had of what happened to her. That's it. To erase that message, when a grown man would know it could probably be enhanced to provide clues and compared to other recordings of her voice, and perhaps background sounds could be enhanced - frankly this is a stumper why he erased it.


    EDITED TO ADD: I keep thinking about the tracing of this call to the red cross. That would have been a landline - a much easier call to confirm. Does LE have both the trace from Rausch's cell phone, and do they claim they have corresponding phone records from the Red Cross land line that confirm that a call was made at that minute to his cell phone? Does anyone know? This is bugging me because this one piece of information seems like it wouldn't be that hard to confirm for sure, yes or no, did it come from the Red Cross.[/QUOTE]

    The only thing NH LE claimed was that they traced the prepaid calling card call FROM Rausch's cell phone to a prepaid calling card owned by the Red Cross.

    Of course, the Rausches and Murrays later learned that prepaid calling card calls cannot be traced even by LE unless one has the card number and the pin

    I emphasize that Sharon told me that NH SP traced the mysterious prepaid calling card call while she, her husband and now Cpt Rausch sat in a room with the NH SP in the Haverhill Police Station; that she immediately disputed that the call was from the ARC because they would not have had her son's phone number (because she was the only one that had spoken with ARC and she knew that she had not given them his cell and cell phones do not have directory assistance; also the ARC had her cell and had not called her; her thinking was IF there was any reason they needed to correspond, they would have contacted her).

    When the Rausches insisted the call was not ARC, then they were all told that the police believed that Maura was upset with her family and that she was already in Kenton OH on her way to the Rausch residence (again the Rausches disputed this because Kenton is Northwest of them and they asked if they perhaps meant Canton and the officer became hostile and said there was no Canton OH - fyi Canton is Northeast of the Rausches and would have made some sense)

    Hope this provides you with some clarification.

  13. #43
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    Thank you Peabody, it does clear it up a little. So often in cases like this there are these roadblocks - either the phone company can verify the type of card used, or they can't, and why there is any dispute about this is beyond me.

    That phone call is such a huge clue, I'm still ruminating on it.

    Another frustrating part for her family is it appears pretty clear LE has turned up information among her friends that she either intended to escape her family, or she intended to commit suicide, which may be misinformation. It seems so cruel that the Murrays aren't allowed access to all the information.

    Thanks again for your clarification.

  14. #44
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    Unhappy Clear as Mud

    Quote Originally Posted by KatherineQ
    Thank you Peabody, it does clear it up a little. So often in cases like this there are these roadblocks - either the phone company can verify the type of card used, or they can't, and why there is any dispute about this is beyond me.

    That phone call is such a huge clue, I'm still ruminating on it.

    Another frustrating part for her family is it appears pretty clear LE has turned up information among her friends that she either intended to escape her family, or she intended to commit suicide, which may be misinformation. It seems so cruel that the Murrays aren't allowed access to all the information.

    Thanks again for your clarification.

    Fred and investigators have spoken with all of Maura's known friends, co-workers, acquaintances. **ALL** of them say that Maura had her nose to the grindstone for work and school and was very much enjoying looking forward to spending her life with Cpt Rausch.


    Therefore, unless someone is being "two-faced", **ALL** of her friends are as confused as her family, which leads everyone to believe that some harm has befallen Maura.....they have made no suggestions or implications of her being suicidal or of possible reasons to runaway.


    As to the earlier discussion regarding Maura's not wanting to be an army wife: it only makes sense that she would just break up with her army boyfriend/fiance......she would have no need to start a new life. As it stands now, Maura and Cpt Rausch would have been married last fall and he would only have 2 years left in the service if he would choose to pursue civilian life........not even long enough for it to affect their having children and them moving to different schools. I am sure if army life was a roadblock for her, he would not stay in the army.

  15. #45
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    Her friends would have a much clearer perspective on her than strangers like me, and as Marc Klaas said, (paraphrasing) taking a snapshot of a family's life at any given time can be a confusing picture. Something like that.

    To a stranger like me on the internet just reading the hard facts of the case, she seemed to be on a complete downward spiral. She had wrecked a couple cars, was apparently drinking heavily, secretly left school and packed up her belongings and lied to her professors about where she was going. Withdrew money out of the bank, bought a LOT of alcohol for one person to drink, and was drinking fairly heavily while trying to drive away in the dark.

    That behavior, of drinking WHILE driving in the dark is almost suicidal, and could be considered pre-suicidal, it think. It's not like someone who drinks in a bar and then needs to get home so he drives drunk. Drinking on a long car trip in the dark on curvy snowy roads is so dangerous that it is alarming.

    Prayers for her, and for her family, this is so confusing that it appears the cops have decided something suspicious is going on besides the obvious of stranger abduction.

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